The Name Popularity page is horribly addictive. It gives you charts and rankings of the popularity of names over the last 100 years. Enter a name and it will tell you how popular Britney, Lawanda or Gladys were as names over the years.
It’s based on American statistics, so it is skewed to American culture, but English name trends seem to be fairly global. After a quick look, I discovered the following:
Emma started off in the 1900s with a reasonably popular position at #39, but decline started and by the ’70s Emma was languishing in 420th, but suddenly, unexpectedly, Emma became popular again and by the ’90s was back up in 71st place.
Mary dominated the stats, hogging the #1 spot from the 1900s to the 1950s. Possibly being edged out by all the Rainbows and Butterflys in the ’60s, Mary jumped down to #2, and continued falling in popularity until it ended up at #41 in the ’90s.
Ashley didn’t even register a blip on the name tracker in the early years, with there only being enough Ashleys to start earn a place on the charts until the 1960s. But once the Ashley juggernaut started, it didn’t stop, powering on until it became the #1 girls name in the 1990s.
Amber was moderately popular, hovering in the 900s for the first two decades, but suddenly dropped off the scale in the ’20s and ’30s. It slowly emerged in the 1950s, then shot back up, reaching 18th place in the ’90s.
Robin peaked in the 1950s, which just goes to prove my theory that I have a middle-aged woman’s name.
The Name Popularity page is now offline, but the Baby Name Voyager will satisfy all your statistical name needs.